Spector: The Bridge from HELL!!

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Brad Barker, Apr 6, 2002.

  1. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    Just a few minutes ago, i decided that it was high time for me to adjust the action on my spector. i figured, if nothing else, it would be good practice for tomorrow, when i'll be giving my bass the works: fretboard maintenance, truss rod tweakin', string changin', and action+intonation adjustin'.

    i lowered the screws on the saddle for the B string a bit too far. i wanted to raise it, but all i accomplished was moving the screws up. if i continued i probably would have taken the screws out of the saddle.

    so now the B saddle is much lower than i want it to be.

    was there anything i else i could have done to do this the right way? i don't want to make any mistakes!

    i also noticed that on the "treble" side of the bridge (closest to the G string...heh heh...G string...), there was a hole with a screw in it. what is that for?

    some more questions about setting up a spector:

    which screws do i need to loosen in order to put the bridge in "intonation adjustment mode?" are these the three that look like they attach the bridge to the body? is it the screw that i mentioned in the paragraph above?

    the access to the truss rod is in the headstock (a la gibson). after removing the cover, do i turn it counter-clockwise to loosen? (1/8 of a turn at a time).

    will loosening the truss rod allow me to have lower action?

    how rough should i "scrub" the fretboard with steel wool. i just don't want to mess things up.

    that's all i can think of...right now. and i haven't even started!!

    thanks in advance.
  2. " get your hands off that bass and bring it to a luthier for set-up " is the first that pops up in my mind. if you don't know what do to with a trusrod or don't know which screws to screw (?) for intonation... don't even think of going there.. you'll end up with a major ****ed up bass.
  3. ashton


    Jan 4, 2001
    if you use steel wool on that bass i will floss your brain with it :eek:

    get a hankercheif and rub the fretboard the opposite way of the strings, i did this 2 days ago to one of my basses ( actually i now remember it was my SG, i had just got a friends name ingraved on the bridge of it) and it works perfectly, absoloute spotless fretboard. clean it real good.

    you dont need a hankercheif but something cloth like will do, dont use any cleaning agents, if anything a drop or 2 of water at the absoloute most.

    ask someone else about the other stuff, im not good with all that yet. and specify the model spector i think cause arent they all a bit different.

  4. Step 1. Buy a bass that is less than $50.

    Step 2. Buy a clue.

    Step 3. Try stuff out until you learn what tweaking the saddles up and down does to action. Then figure out what the inotation does. Then figure out the truss rod mystery.

    Step 4. Conquer world.

    Step 5. Profit.

    It's all really not that hard. But don't go screwing with a bass you care about until you learn the basics. I have a feeling that explaining things online won't help, since you haven't tried a search on setup, or action.

    Take Allodo's advice. Have someone do it for you.
  5. ashton


    Jan 4, 2001
    step 1: conquer world

    step 3: profit

    :D :D :D :D i LOVE that episode of south park.

    tufnuts.......can i buy a vowel :D
  6. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    2. buy a clue.

    looks like i won't have to now...

    i'm pretty discouraged now. fyi, i did adjust the action on my other bass successfully. it had a standard bridge which is easy to adjust.

    i was really looking forward to being a self reliant instrument...guy.
  7. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    well, i corrected the action situation for the B-string.

    it's just that the saddle responds...strangely. not only does it lean left or right when i tweak it, it also slopes downwards or upwards.

    i don't trust myself enough to adjust the intonation just yet.

    for future intonation reference:

    sharp-move saddle back
    flat- move saddle forwards

    and i've read here that it is easiest using a pencil (eraser end) to move the touchy saddles around.
  8. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    :mad: :mad: :mad:

    so i searched the forums for how to adjust the intonation.

    i located the screw on the bridge that is away from the strings, nearest to the g-string.

    i unscrewed it, but i wasn't able to move any of the saddles.

    i don't understand. what did i do wrong?
  9. Damian Coccio

    Damian Coccio Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: Fodera Guitars
    OK Bassbrobrad,
    I understand your desire to be self reliant setting your stuff up. You cant really hurt anything by playing with the bridge setup. Worst case scenario is that you will mess up the intonation which is easy to fix.

    The Spector bridge may seem like the bridge from hell but trust me its a nice simple, solid design.

    OK on my Spector NS5 all I do is loosen the screw on the controls side of the bridge. Back it out a couple turns. If you dont back it out enough it may hang up the G string Saddle. Now to raise or lower the saddles you have to really pay attention. Whenever you adjust one screw on a saddle make sure you adjust the other by the same amount; this will keep the sadle from cocking. If you are lowering the saddle make sure you push down on the saddle to set it after making the adjustment. Sometimes the string isnt enough to load the saddle fully so the screws come out and the saddle dosent move.

    Intonation is a another challenge, but very simple. This is how I do all of my basses. This is not the only way, and probably not the best, but its just what I have done since 1985. You may want to check with spector for advice.

    You will need an electronic tuner (can be done with harmonics but is more difficult).

    Step 1 Tune all strings of the bass precisely.

    Step 2 fret the 12 fret of a string of your choice not to hard, not too light about how you will when you play. Depending whether the note is flat or sharp:

    Make small moves on the saddle, no big adjustments. Move the spector saddles by sliding them with your fingers. They do not move easily.

    Move the saddle toward the neck will make notes on the fretboard sharp because it actually makes the string shorter.
    Move the saddle toward the bridge will make the make notes on the fretboard flat because it actually makes the string longer.

    After you make the adjustment retune the open string and re check it. Some times I recheck it at fret 12 and 24. Re adjust the saddle as required. Repeat for all strings.

    Hope this helps.

    Good luck.
  10. I guarantee that if your bridge uses screws for adjustments that it works just like 99% of the other bridges out there. If you are still hung up on the intricacies of it's operation, perhaps this little diagram will help. This pic is of a Fender style bridge, viewed from the side, but the concept is the same for all bridges with 2 screw adjustments:

  11. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    well, i just don't undestand why i was not able to move the saddles after loosening that screw on the electronics side of the bridge!

    i loosened it so much that it came out, and i still couldn't move the saddles!

    (i put the screw back in, of course)

    and about the movement of the saddles:

    i thought that moving the saddle back towards the bridge would flatten the intonation, so when there were no strings on the bridge, i just kinda pushed the B string saddle back. when i installed the new strings and tuned the open B to pitch, the 12 fret B was even more sharp!

    before i moved the saddle, it was as far from the bridge as possible (shorter string lenght), but was still a tad sharp...

    thanks for your help.

    i guess i'll have to e-mail the spector site.
  12. You are exactly correct in your assumption about the relationship between the saddle location and intonation! The difference could have been a different seating of the string windings on the saddle, a different seating of the ball end of the string in the bridge, or if you changed gauges of string. Go through the process again with all of the strings installed. This is important to get the proper tension on the neck. Then re-intonate. It's fairly simple science and works all the time when the components are in good working order. Don't give up, you're almost there!!
  13. I've got a little trick to remember the direction to adjust the intonation:

    If the string is "Flat" at the "Fretted 12th", move the saddle "Forward".

    Needless to say, F is the key. And, of course, sharp would be the opposite. Hope this was some help.
  14. It sounds to me like there isn't quite enough pressure on the saddle from the spring, so rather then the saddle moving, the screw just came out. You may have to push the screw in after you loosen it to actually slide the saddle forward. It should draw back when you tighten because you're not relying on the spring.
  15. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    adjusting the spector saddles (as far as intonation is concerned) is different from a fender style bridge.

    there isn't an individual screw for each saddle which you turn in either direction.

    there is a single screw on the side of the bridge which must be loosened. the saddles are moved manually. which i have READ is irritating. i wouldn't know b/c i haven't even gotten to that step!:mad:

    i emailed the spector site. hopefully they'll help me. i could have sworn that i went about adjusting the intonation the right way.:(

    btw-the new B string is tapered, which may or may not be the cause of a particular confusion.
  16. If I owned that bass, I would immediately replace that bridge with one that has a conventional (read "convenient") adjustable bridge. They aren't expensive, they are easy to install - even by a novice, and it would go a long way to making a setup on that bass simple and easy.

    But...I don't own that bass, thank goodness! :)
  17. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Hey, loosen your string until it's floppy. Then try again. Good luck.
  18. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    crazy enough it just may work. thanks gabu.

    and just in case, i have two...count'em...TWO replacement B strings (.130 and .125, neither tapered), so i guess it won't hurt...
  19. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    well i used gabu's suggestion. it works fairly decent.

    if only it weren't the B string i was having trouble with.:(

    it is still far from being intonated properly.

    and now, no matter what action i set, there is a strange buzzing sound. i don't think it's fret buzz. very hard to describe. i don't know where it is coming from, but it is definitely coming from the B string whenever it is plucked.

    this sucks.:mad: :(
  20. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    After loosening the side screw (treble side), the saddles are still held in place by the string tension. In order to adjust the saddles forward/backward for intonation, I just lift the string up near the bridge ever so slightly to relieve the saddle tension. Then I move the saddle in small increments (about as thick as a dime) in the appropriate direction. After that, I tune the string to pitch again, recheck the 12th fret, and repeat if necessary etc...

    As far as the B string intonation, they are always a bit more touchy in my experience. This is likely due to the sheer thickness I suppose. Adjust the saddle to the height you would like, and try to intonate the string as described above. Note that moving the saddles forward or backward for intonation may require additional height adjustments to maintain your favorite playing action. The string height often changes slightly when moving saddles foward and backward due to the changing angle at which the string crosses the saddle.

    As far as the strange buzzing sound, I'm not sure there. I guess some things I would check are that the ball end of the string is seated firmly in the bridge notch, with no spaces between the ball and where the string is held in place. Also, make sure that throughout the adjustments, none of the strings have slipped out of their filed grooves in the bridge saddles. If they slip out of the grooves, you have a good chance of hearing a rattle/buzz when playing that string. If it's not fret buzz, and did not exist before you made adjustments, I can't imagine what else might make it crop up at this point.

    Lastly, once you have all the saddles exactly where you want them, retighten that side screw on the side of the bridge. This will push the saddles together a bit more, with the desired design function being that the bridge will perform as a more cohesive mass overall. It's just important to remember that the side screw must be loosened again when going to adjust the saddles again. It's easy to forget about it, then get frustrated when the saddles don't want to budge.

    Good luck with the bass!